I recently ventured far out of my comfort zone to attend a Marketing Retreat held by a friend of mine Ming Johanson and her business OTOTGo. Nothing about this weekend was disappointing, so thats not what I’m referring to here. However since this weekend I have had a lot to consider and dare I say….feelings (ick) that have bubbled up and cause a great deal of introspection.
One of our fantastic, heart wrenching blog prompts included for the weekend was “What has been the most disappointing thing to happen in your life?” No unicorns and rainbows here people… or fluffy bunnies to give us warm fuzzies. Nope. It’s so much easier divulging introspection to a group of peers when we get to stroke the ego and paint ourselves and our happy moments as if they were the “ideal”. So that is certainly not what we did. In the most disarming way, it was considerably difficult to pick my most disappointing moment. Everybody has more than one I’m sure, and there is nothing special or different about me. I have fucking loads. Maybe it was the brutality of having to share those that had my anxiety puckering like a virgin arsehole…
What I did share that day, that in the moment was the most greatest disappointment and achievement I think I could manage to reach into. Getting a little bit knocked up at 18 years old was incredibly disappointing. Not only that, but it really does cause me a lot of conflicted ideas about who I was back then, and who the hell I managed to turn into 12 years later. Nothing I am sure I am disappointed by, now. While I could in all seriousness get off the ground and take full flight into the absolutely fascinating and well done bullshit of that story, that’s not the most disappointing moment I wanted to talk about right now.
Most people I know, didn’t know what they want to be when they grow up. At 30 years old I can safely say that is still mostly true. I didn’t know, I never really even had an idea. I didn’t really believe I was ever going to be capable of being driven, focused or passionate about something enough for it to motivate me. Sure, I’ve had interests and ideas and starts and stops. Nothing caused me to journey down a path and work towards an end goal. Disappointingly, getting pregnant so young pretty much sealed my fate. That defining event dumped a massive big “F” on my entry into “adulthood”. I wouldn’t be able to have a career now, even if I’d known what that would look like. Being an Art- School drop out with no work experience wasn’t going to get me far. My self confidence was minimal, obviously, but struggling with anxiety, depression and crude binge drinking coping methods meant that it felt incredibly unlikely that nothing about me or my life would ever change.
Several years down the track, M (My Husband) had changed jobs and wasn’t getting as many hours as financially floatable. When I got a call one night from a friend, asking if M would be able to help fill in doing some driving. I throw him into the deep end with my eyes on the $$$. Of course, what I hadn’t known right away is where that would be. For most other wives, it’s not generally the kind of driving work they’d be happy to toss there husbands to but more on why thats not me later! So M got ready and off he went that evening to drive around Perth most beautiful and elite women. Yes, I’d single handedly sent my husband to work at Perth’s Best Brothel!
A few weeks later and his regular job started picking up and he was working back to back double shifts and coming home looking more ragged and aged every day. Lack of sleep is not as becoming on this man the way it suits me! I curiously threw my hand up and offered to take some of his driving shifts, hoping that we’d be able to make it work since I’d never worked in my life, let alone doing night shift. I was willing to give it a go.
I felt at home almost right away. The women really were beautiful and vivacious, but the draw for me was just the stories and personalities. I really enjoyed the work, it wasn’t overly complicated but it was fast paced and stimulating and put some of my life skills and common sense in an arena that I felt appreciated . Even better, I was getting paid to do it. $$$ At that time Perth was in the height of the mining boom and we were booming, bustling and busy! It was awesome. I hardly missed my social life, and every night was like a social event getting to meet people from all walks of life and lots to see and learn. My duties included; Driving escorts to and from bookings and house keeping/ laundry. While that might not sound riveting, it never much felt like work. I was a happy camper!
Sometime down the track from there, a position opened up on the reception desk. I wasn’t intending on giving up the driving position because I did love it so much and the receptionists had this aura of stress and sleeplessness about them that really made me think I’d never cope! That and everybody was always scurrying about to keep the Boss happy and terrified to loose there minds and their jobs. I didn’t want that. Job security is fucking important to me. If I go out of my way to invest in a thing, I like knowing that it’s stable, so I don’t go tits up and destroy my life in the process.
One of the best things I learned about myself in those first few months is that I could work and be a mum. I didn’t ever believe I’d find my self so driven and motivated. Now I’m going to go on here and say, I got lucky in getting that job to start with. I happened to be a person with a car and an open mind and a draw for nightlife and reading people. Once I was in, I worked my ass off and eventually managed to get a reception job which I knew whatever the risk down the track, I had the balls to give it a go.
So I slipped into my new role as a brothel receptionist and I can tell you that if you ever need to learn to be a receptionist, this place was the place to do it! The amount of work that goes into that place was fantastic and stimulating for an overactive, adrenaline loving, challenge seeker! (Or at least that’s what I’d become!) I’d pretty much put that place on par with NASA! Organisation and efficiency was key and I loved it so much I thought I’d die if I ever had to leave.
Two years later a friend approached me with a position as a Dental Receptionist and I had a hard think about leaving the comfort of the brothel. My husband and I made lists, compared finances and benefits of making that choice. I had it in my head that I’d happily have stayed there none the wiser if I’d not had another opportunity, but business was blackening, the stress of the down turn here in Perth was making everybody more crazy and I didn’t know If I could face another day at work being shouted, degraded and made to feel like everything I was putting in was useless. I’d left work several times in those lead up weeks feeling like I was a piece of shit, and ready to rely on all my old habits for making the pain go away. It took a lot of strength to not break in to pieces and just swallow the bitterness to support my family. Especially since at this point, I was the main income earner for our family.
The ballsy bitch I was, decided to leave the stress behind and try on something new. I wasn’t sure I’d cope “in the real world”. I’m a dark haired, tattooed, pierced and dreadlock donning girl whose only work experience is working in a brothel! What The Fuck was I going to be able to achieve! Lucky for me, that whole getting pregnant at 18 years old thing was just a nasty universe joke making me out to be a cliche. Truth is, I’m actually pretty smart! I’m quick thinking and have an interesting penchant for problem solving and did I mention my boot camp receptionist training at the NASA like brothel! I got this! And I did, but what I didn’t have was cash… and neither did my husband. I’d left the brothel and was comfy in that job at the dental clinic, but started to work double shifts helping out at the parlour when they were short staffed. It wasn’t a hard leap back when they offered me my job back with higher pay and a sense of employee benefits.
But things had changed. It wasn’t what I remembered. People I loved had left, or been forced out and the general atmosphere most nights would rival that of a royal funeral. The stress that I’d left behind to start with, was now a thick black decaying darkness ready to swallow any hope, resilience or strength I’d grown and cherished in myself. The team I worked with were under more pressure than I’d ever seen and we were working a thousand times harder with little positivity or gratitude to speak of. Within a few weeks I was ready to come home, run a bath and bliss myself into darkness. Silence for my ache and deliverance from the utter failure I’d become.
It was easy to feel that way, when you quite directly get told that you’re a fucking waste of time, waste of space, uselessly devoid of any intelligence. It didn’t seem to matter how hard any of us were trying, we were all fuck ups. And in Her eyes, we probably still are.
I sit on this fence line now, never quite sure if I was fired, made redundant, or if I made my own choice not to return to work. It’s hard to know when you stop getting a roster, but you know that you can’t go back because if you do… you’ll likely run your vehicle into the nearest brick wall on your way home.
I had found my niche. I’d grown an army of skills and delivered good results time and time again to only be made to feel as significant as the bacteria on the tap of a public toilet. With the reflection I know I have now, I know that it wasn’t the disappointment of not meeting the standards or whims of the Boss, but the disappointment that I had failed my whole family, and myself. This all coming about the week before Christmas just gone. Two freshly now unemployed parents with private school tuitions, bills and children that require care and I had nothing to offer them because I was a fucking waste of time employee who couldn’t do anything right?
Fuck That Shit.
I still get really wound up about it. It triggers me and twists me into that angry hateful insecure place.
This might not be the most disappointing thing to happen to me in my life either but it’s as sure as fuck more disappointing than the bullshit ideas I have had about getting knocked up so young.